Written By Jeremy Larson, USA
We should always seek God’s will, wisdom, and guidance. Yet when He seems to be silent for the sake of letting us grow, there are some practical tips I’ve learned that help us not only to make good choices, but also enable us to be at peace with them instead of always second guessing and stressing.
“Intellectual analysis usually results in spiritual paralysis.” —Mark Batterson
It’s funny how growing up we are taught it’s okay to make mistakes, but somewhere down the road this message makes a 180 degrees turn. We are taught to hold on to job security, strive for formal education, and because the majority is usually right, we need to maintain the status quo and not rock the boat. What all these equates to is the sense that unorthodox way is risky and wrong, and we should avoid mistakes at all costs. Immobilized by our fear of making a mistake, we do not dare make any decision. Little did we realize that inaction and indecision could be the costliest mistake one could ever make.
We need to remember that God can direct a wayward ship to its proper course. What He can’t do, however, is steer a ship still attached to the dock. So when in doubt, simply “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him” and God has promised: “he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
“I took the road less traveled, and that has made all the difference.” —Robert Frost
One of the best methods to make wise choices and determine the direction for your life is to picture the end of your life. Imagine, what would cause you regrets? Most importantly, what kind of life would you look back on and feel satisfied, fulfilled, and at peace?
They say hindsight is 20/20. So this is a good practice that can help provide a better perspective. In the now, many things seem important and tug at our attention. Yet we also know that most of them are only temporary, and really shouldn’t consume our days as they do.
Practical living is perhaps our greatest enemy. We let go of dreams and aspirations for the benefit of easy or secure living. As it has been said, “You can’t walk on the water if you won’t get out of the boat.” Peter is a good example for us. Did he successfully walk on the water? Not really, but he’s the only one who can say he did it, and what an experience to have with the Lord!
“Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I love this. It’s like saying “the best defense is a good offense.” That’s how we ought to be living. Not only will being spiritually cautious keep us idle, fruitless, and stressed, but as the old saying goes “idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”
Moreover, small things achieved or simply attempted, are better than building enormous air castles. Mistakes are not bad, they are good. In fact, mistakes are precursors for growth when we learned from them.
There’s a great story of an old, successful business leader who was asked one day by his young protégé for the secret of success.
The old man said, “Right decisions!”
“But how does one go about making right decisions?” asked the young man.
“Experience!” came the reply.
“But how does one gain experience?”
“Wrong decisions!” replied the man.
Mistakes and wrong decisions are unavoidable. That’s nothing to be ashamed about; everyone has made them. Those who haven’t are liars, and those who scorn someone who tries and fails has probably never attempted to do anything meaningful themselves.
At the end of the day, or our life, it’s about learning from our mistakes and letting them bring us closer to God, not further away.
“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain—and most fools do.” —Benjamin Franklin
People are quick to say what won’t work or what you can’t do. Yet they don’t come up with a solution themselves. Not that we should be yes-man to everyone, and fail to be helpful. Yet if we talked up to each other instead of down, I think we would all be surprised by the difference it would make and what each of us are capable of.
Don’t worry what others think, and certainly don’t make decisions based on how you will look. The Bible says the fear of man is a snare (Proverbs 29:25). A funny but sad quote highlights our condition, “Most people spend money they don’t have, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.”
This is what John called the “pride of life” (1 John 2:16), which will not only put us at odds with God but lead us to focus on the temporary and superficial instead. So don’t rob yourself of pursuing a dream or passion. More importantly, don’t rob God.
I will continue this little series tomorrow by providing the final two tips on how to make decisions that please God.